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Monday, March 21, 2011 - 05.34 GMT
Thousands attend Kachchativu feast


Over 3,000 Indian nationals have attended the annual Kachchativu Feast of St. Anthony's Church on Saturday, the first day of the two-day festival.

The Sri Lanka Navy has made necessary arrangements to facilitate more than 10,000 Sri Lankans and 3,000 Indians attending the annual feast in Kachchativu Island.

"The Navy has provided the necessary facilities for people attending from Sri Lanka and India for the festival," the Sri Lanka Navy spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said.

"Jetties have also been made available for people to dock their boats, while life-saving teams were deployed to ensure the safety of the devotees attending the festival," he has added.

Transport facilities from Jaffna have also been made available for the Sri Lankans attending the festival.

The Navy spokesman has said that the Navy had developed all the by-roads and installed sanitation and drinking water facilities for people attending the festival.

The Sri Lankan government last week announced that restrictions imposed on Tamil Nadu fishermen on entering the Sri Lankan waters would be lifted during March 19 and 20th to allow them to participate in the annual religious festival.

According to the Sri Lanka Navy, the laws regarding fishing in Sri Lankan waters will remain, but the Indian fishermen will be permitted to visit the island to participate in the religious celebrations without any travel documents being required by the Sri Lankan authorities.

Fishermen and fisher families from Tamil Nadu reportedly take a four hour boat ride to visit the Kachchativu Island annually to participate in the religious celebrations.

India ceded the Kachchativu Island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The devotees from India continued to attend the festivities of the St. Anthony's Church which was established in 1905. The practice was interrupted during the three-decade long conflict during which the public was not allowed to visit the island due to security situation.






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Last modified: March 21, 2011.

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